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Meteo Xavier

Newb Recording Question!

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So I've gotten to the point where I can, with some efficiency, record separate tracks from my Sound Canvas into Fl Studio from my audio-line on my computer.

Now to the next part, because I'm a recording newb, I'm surprised to find some audio/microphone style feedback/noise, etc. on this direct line and I'd like to know if I can fix it. Here's my test track:

And now here's that track with the high-shelf EQ turned all the way up so you can hear it start half a second before the audio does.

What sort of things do I need to do to record clean? I hear these Sound Canvas videos on Youtube doing Doom or Duke Nukem soundtracks coming out without this noise and I'd like to know how they're doing it.

Thank you!

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Can't hear what type of noise issue you have since i'm at work right now but what type of cable do you have and how long is it?  If the cable isn't shielded and is fairly long you are going to pick up radio transmissions and all the crap that is floating through the air these days.  A halfway decent cable should cancel noise on it's own.  you may also need to clean the input jack if you haven't used it a whole lot. 

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Use the rear io panel input, not the front case input and get away from motherboard sound input as soon as you possibly can.

 

Save us a small amount of money and get a dedicated device, there are lots of cheap and good options.

You could hit up a pawn shop and get an m-audio box since they seem to be everywhere, pick up a focusrite sapphire 2by2 and if you only need one audio input then you can get a clone of a behringer UCG102 from ebay for like $15.

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If you're using the audio in your computer, that's no good and a primary cause of recording noise. A/D converters need to be isolated from other swaths of electrical components to function optimally without leaking other stuff in, and in the motherboard counts as "swaths of electrical components". Do what Aster said and get a reasonable cheap sound card (internal or external are both fine).

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Sometimes old gear has a noise-floor.  It's not like this was pristine.

Everything along the gain-stage chain can contribute to noise-floor problems.  This includes the input and output type (instrument vs. line, etc.); the converters on both ends; to a small degree, the cable length; etc.

It's difficult to say without implementing experimental control parameters, what component(s) is/are contributing to your problem.

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Well, at this point (because after a few days I didn't think anyone else was responding) I think I'll just remain satisfied to record the entire audio in one track and mix the song inside the Sound Canvas itself. There is no noise-floor I can notice at that point, and if there is, I'll probably just be able to use a noise removal tool or something.

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Resurrecting this topic as I'm still interested in trying to record one channel at a time.

So getting one of these devices functions as an external sound card and allows me to record purely clean without any noise floor/white noise? Does it have to be a whole box or do they make like a USB dongle of it that accepts left and right stereo cables?

Bear with me here, I'm still pretty green on this and the overly technical and very loose structure of trying to figure this out with Google isn't working well.

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A Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 or Steinberg UR22 might be worth looking into. Those are a couple of home studio grade USB interfaces, complete with clean preamps and proper driver support. They'll set you back $150 apiece, but they're quite worth the expenditure. A little USB dongle is unlikely to include the necessary hardware for good, clean audio processing.

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Do any of those things take the 1/8th TRS cable I have? I don't have space or resources to keep adding more modules and cables and shit just to record from a Sound Canvas cleanly, so I'd really like to find something that can use what I've already got if it's possible.

Edit: Although I might already have a little adapter/jack that might work. I use to use it to plug my monitor headphones into the JV-880 and korg Wavestation SR I used to have (kinda wish I hadnt sold that now, but oh well).

Looks like this: https://www.radioshack.com/products/gold-plated-stereo-adapter-1-8-jack-to-1-4-plug?variant=5717462981

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Ah the fun of recording hardware and trying to get it into the computer without noise. 

So, for the Sound Canvas depending on which one you have (last one dates to 2001) would determine the noise floor. The original SC-55 had 16-bit converters giving it a "theoretical" noise floor of -96dBFS. In practice though it is more realistically from that time (1991) the converters were probably operating around 14 to 15-bit for pro audio gear (the PS1 from 1994 operated around 13 to 14-bits). So, that would raise the noise floor about 12dB or so. Newer versions did gain better converters which inevitably leads to less noise. Now, that isn't actually all that inherently bad when you consider that a mixing console from the 80s probably had a noise floor right around there too, and you don't really hear people complain too much about the noise. 

I thought at first it could have been a mismatch in what the Sound Canvas was outputting versus what the sound card was expecting in. But I don't think that is the case given that you really don't see +4dBu on Phono connectors so the Sound Canvas is probably outputting -10dBv which the sound card should have no problems with. I have three other guesses though. 1 - The jack is dirty which is leading to a shoddy connection. 2 - The sound card is picking up electrical noise from the computer. 3 - There is a gross impedance mismatch going on which is generating standing waves causing an increase in noise. 

I'd suspect number 2 and 1 to be the most likely going on. 

That adapter will work perfectly fine. The only real difference between 1/8" and 1/4" electrically is that 1/4" can handle more power and it is just a more robust connector. Otherwise it'll work. 

Though since nobody has mentioned I feel I should. If you do get something like the UR22 or similar then to record stereo you'll need to use two inputs as each input is inherently mono.

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It's actually the Roland SK-88, an 88 Pro with a MIDI keyboard on it. It's apparently pretty obscure.

Also, yes, I can plug in an adapter that turns the 1/8th into a 1/4th inch audio jack. The focus right has a "combo" thing that looks weird but I can still plug the 1/4th jack into it, yes?

See - I'm catching up some. :)

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Yes, those inputs are designed to handle both line in (using regular 1/4 jacks) and mic in (using XLR). There's usually a method to tell the interface which one it is, like a button or something, because the electrical treatment is different for each one.

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Hey, question on the combo inputs on those boxes. Like the Focusrite and such has two inputs, right? APZX mentioned each input is inherently mono, but they have different gains/volumes on them. That doesn't make sense to me, what if I don't have the two at exactly the same volume? Won't that throw the balance off? Because from the dual RCA to 1/8th I'm using, I'm already getting stereo and that's only going into one input on my computer from my Sound Canvas.

I learned tonight my brother has this and will lend it to me: http://www.amazon.com/Behringer-UM2-Audio-Interface/dp/B00EK1OTZC

That has one XLR combo and one 1/4" to record a vocal and instrument specifically, not to record left and right. The output from there is also RCA that presumably goes into one computer input, so... how does that work? Am I getting stereo or super narrow mono or what?

Or am I simply narrow-minded (pun intended) about the nature of mono/stereo and it will still sound as wide as I need it to sound?

 

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In audio recording since the industry became a thing at all, stereo has always been simply the combination of two mono sources panned left and right. When you record in stereo, for example, you're actually using two mics on either side of the instrument/performance, and they're both running mono as separate inputs (which, yes, have separate mixer tracks, separate EQ's, compressors, gain control, etc.) into the studio set-up and are panned left and right on the mixer itself to appropriately space out the signal and the properly placed speakers recreates the stereo effect. The concept of a "stereo track" was actually pretty much exclusive to the digital era of software DAW's and beyond; they didn't exist in hardware, really.

There have been some other micing techniques invented such as "Mid-Side" which aim to better capture stereo image and width through use of clever principles of wave math and geometry. One in particular uses two mics, a bi-directional (which actually creates two outputs because it picks up on both sides) facing left and right and a uni-direction facing forward. But even then, it's mixed down to a left and right channel in the end (ultimately are two mono signals that get sent separately to your left speaker and right speaker).

Typical non-recording audio cables like in your headphones carry both signals at once; if you look at the tip of your headphone jack you'll notice it has 2 rings on it. Each of those is transmitting or receiving a separate signal (the single left channel signal and the single right channel signal). In recording however, separate cables are used for each and every input to ensure proper shielding, minimal interference, etc. You'll notice standard 1/4" have one ring on them, that's how you know it's mono and only going to grab one of them. You can also find cables that are two single-ring connectors on one end and one double-ring connector on the other; this demonstrates the principle more literally to show you that each ring on the double side corresponds to one of the other single ring connectors.

To more practically answer your question, what you have to do is get the two channels as separate inputs (at the same gain, use your fingers, it's not that scary :)) and then in your DAW or wherever you're recording to you need to have it set so the tracks are panned left and right so you hear it properly. Otherwise, like you mentioned, it's unnaturally narrow and doesn't sound good.

Also, each cable needs to be the exact same length, or you'll get phase cancellation issues where one signal has some frequencies slightly delayed from the ones in the other signal and it cancels out creating a comb filter-like effect (because waves).

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The problem I have with that thinking is, again, the two separate inputs aren't labeled or advertised to be stereo inputs of left and right on any of those units, and I still question the design of something that is supposed to record in stereo but leave it so easy to be unbalanced. The Behringer unit outputs in stereo RCA as well, and I would think that would be weird if both inputs were used for vocals and one instrument and both came out mono. The final doubt comes with that my recordings with the Sound Canvas came out without sounding unnaturally narrow or any different than I heard in the module itself (minus the noise floor, of course) and that used the RCA to 1/8th, which I would guess should work about the same as the rest there.

I mean, for goodness sakes, the whole point of me wanting to use an audio interface is so I can record the instruments/channels individually and mix it in FL Studio without the noise floor, so whether or not it comes out narrow-sounding is somewhat moot by then.

Not trying to speak ahead of my recording naivete, but it just makes very little sense to me to do it that way. I'll find out here soon myself anyway, I just wanted to get the right planning involved so I didn't have to keep buying a bunch of shit and hope something works.

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You'll likely want one of these as well:  http://smile.amazon.com/Hosa-CMP153-Cable-Inch-Dual/dp/B000068O3C/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460787873&sr=8-1&keywords=1%2F8%22+to+dual+1%2F4

 

This will take your signal from a 1/8" headphone jack (which is what it sounds like you have right now), and convert it into dual mono, suitable for use with a UR22 or 2i2. That Behringer interface you're showing has a fundamental problem, which is that you can't guarantee that the two inputs on it will be reasonably exactly the same level. One's a mic/line (the XLR with a hole in the middle), and the other is an instrument (the regular TRS-looking plug) input. The instrument input actually is at a different impedance than the other one, which is great if you're going to plug a guitar into it or something but not so good if you want a stereo recording with what you're doing. 

 

Like Neblix said, you'll just want to manually move the knobs until they're about the same. Or, if you're lucky, you'll be able to keep 'em all the way down, turn your Roland unit all the way up, and hopefully the gain is such that you don't even need to amplify it any extra.

 

The reason you wouldn't just want to use the adapter you currently have (that takes 1/8" to 1/4") is that you'll be, best-case scenario, losing the right-hand channel if you just plug it into one input. Worst-case scenario you'll get some crazy phase issues, since that input will be expecting a balanced signal (the same thing on both channels, in a certain phase), and not a stereo signal.

 

Here's a blurb I stole from http://www.portlandmusiccompany.com/balanced_unbalanced.php

"A Balanced cable contains two identical wires, which are twisted together and then wrapped with a third conductor (foil or braid) that acts as a shield. The term "balanced" comes from of connecting each wire to identical impedances at source and load. This means that much of the electromagnetic interference will induce an equal noise voltage in each wire. Since the amplifier at the far end measures the difference in voltage between the two signal lines, noise that is identical on both wires is rejected. The noise received in the second, inverted line is applied against the first, upright signal, and cancels it out when the two signals are subtracted. This also prevents noise and ground issues in the signal and allows to run much longer cables without problems."

Basically, the preamp is looking for something identical but phase-inverted, so plug a stereo signal into that at your own risk.

 

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Pretty much what Neblix & Flexstyle said. 

Though I do feel the need to comment on something Neblix stated about matching cable lengths. That is a "technically" right answer, but in practice outside of a few situations is actually completely unnecessary to be concerned with. It is correct because it does indeed take longer for the electrons to move through a longer wire, but then again you're talking about speeds in the region of like half the speed of light (yes I know the actual electrons are only moving mm/sec, but you don't notice that). There are situations such as with computer memory where the wires have to be the same length otherwise you run into timing issues, but for audio purposes I'd say that as long as you're not comparing a 100ft cable to 3ft cable you're probably not going to notice any delay or phase issues between the cables. Or let alone the fact that channel 1 on a mixing console is very far from the Master section and therefore should cause it to be noticeably out of phase with all the others when that isn't the case.

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7 hours ago, Meteo Xavier said:

The problem I have with that thinking is, again, the two separate inputs aren't labeled or advertised to be stereo inputs of left and right on any of those units, and I still question the design of something that is supposed to record in stereo but leave it so easy to be unbalanced. The Behringer unit outputs in stereo RCA as well, and I would think that would be weird if both inputs were used for vocals and one instrument and both came out mono. The final doubt comes with that my recordings with the Sound Canvas came out without sounding unnaturally narrow or any different than I heard in the module itself (minus the noise floor, of course) and that used the RCA to 1/8th, which I would guess should work about the same as the rest there.

I mean, for goodness sakes, the whole point of me wanting to use an audio interface is so I can record the instruments/channels individually and mix it in FL Studio without the noise floor, so whether or not it comes out narrow-sounding is somewhat moot by then.

Not trying to speak ahead of my recording naivete, but it just makes very little sense to me to do it that way. I'll find out here soon myself anyway, I just wanted to get the right planning involved so I didn't have to keep buying a bunch of shit and hope something works.

It won't be narrow-sounding; if you pan left and right the signals as they come into the DAW, you've 100% re-established the stereo space.

Like I said... stereo tracks are nothing more than two mono tracks panned left and right. This is a universal truth in all of audio technology. It's not difficult to get them to balance. You question the design, but I assure you, this is how it's worked for many decades. There's no reason to label an input as stereo left or right; none of the electronics would change, at all. Unless maybe they automatically panned it for you, but then that would be gimping two perfectly good normal inputs and killing the versatility.

Here's a more concrete explanation: if you take the stereo output of the Sound Canvas thing and run it into the two separate inputs on an interface, and then pan them hard left and right (100% either side) as they enter the DAW, it will sound 100% identical to the Sound Canvas.

I understand coming at it from an angle of experience only with newer more sensible technology, it's confusing. However, I assure you, this is how it's done, this is how people do it, and it's not as difficult (nor does it compromise quality) to do as you may think. Give it a shot.

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This is getting really complicated and my limited understanding is drowning in technical terms and cables. Let's simplify down.

I recorded this today with the RCA to 1/8th to the line-in jack out of my computer. If I run this through the Behringer Mic/Line 1 and then out the stereo RCA outputs (which pretty much the same cord I used up there), what happens? Does it narrow down so you can't hear it go left to right, or do I get the same thing as above without any noise floor?

 

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5 hours ago, Meteo Xavier said:

I recorded this today with the RCA to 1/8th to the line-in jack out of my computer. If I run this through the Behringer Mic/Line 1 and then out the stereo RCA outputs (which pretty much the same cord I used up there), what happens? Does it narrow down so you can't hear it go left to right, or do I get the same thing as above without any noise floor?

This is a very confusing description... you need to be specific and be careful where you're using the words "in" and "out". Where is the sound coming from? Where is it going? "to the line-in jack out of my computer" for example contradicts itself. Is it a line in or is it going out?

I can help you understand, but you need to help me understand as well. :)

If I understand you right, you recorded this using a stereo cable (like a standard headphone jack). If you take this signal and put it into the Behringer input, it's only going to get one of the two channels (either the left or right one, I forget which. I think it's the left). Assuming the left is what's captured, the right channel will disappear because nothing is connecting it. So you'll just hear silence when the sound is only at the right.

You can liken this to playing stereo music but turning off one of your speakers and placing the remaining one in front of you.

If you want to get both the left and right channels, you need to have each part of the stereo RCA go to a separate input. 

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_979CPR203/Hosa-Stereo-1-4-to-RCA-Adapter-Cable-3-meter.html?tp=63670&awkw=122700762985&awat=pla&awnw=g&awcr=64103486185&awdv=c

In other words, stereo RCA out from the keyboard, two 1/4 go into separate channels on the interface. When the signal gets into the DAW, hard pan each one.

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<_<

...alright, let's try it this way.

"Crystal theme", going hard-panned left to hard-panned right and back again.

Arranged inside the SK88 Sound Canvas from FL Studio. I press the record button.

Goes out from the SK88 through red and white outputs.

Travels out the left and right RCA cables into a single 1/8" male adapter.

1/8" male adapter is connected to a PC line-in.

The line-in accepts the SK88 audio.

The crystal theme is played and recorded in FL Studio.

The newly recorded .WAV sounds pretty much exactly the same as I heard it with my headphones plugged in the SK88. The hard-panned automation retains the same.



Now the question:

If I add the Behringer UM2 into this process and use only the Mic 1 input - where it then goes out from two other red and white outputs at the back of the Behringer unit into the single 1/8" male adapter that goes into the blue PC line-in - what changes from the Soundcloud example above?

Do I lose the hard-panning from left to right? Do I only hear the left or right panning? Or does it sound the same as I heard it in my monitor headphones in the SK88? That's all I'm asking.

 

And please don't quote the entire post here if you decide to respond. I know what you're talking about, I can just scroll up to read it.

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So I did understand you right, and so my answer to:

" Do I only hear the left or right panning? "

Is the same; you will hear just one of the channels. Suppose you lose the right channel, all you will hear is just a mono signal of what's in the left channel. When the sound from the Canvas is hard panned to the right, there will be no sound at all. When it's panned to the left, it's the loudest. 

You need to wrap your head around the fact that there really isn't such a thing as left or right in signals. Stereo RCA out is two cables carrying separate mono signals. One is the "left", one is the "right". Panning the Canvas sound is just changing the volume balance between the two mono signals. You're shoving mono signals via one connector into mono input on the Behringer, and so one of them gets cut out. Let me say that again.

You're shoving mono signals via one connector (the 1/8" jack) into mono input on the Behringer, and so one of them gets cut out.

TO CONTRAST, the line-in on your computer knows how to process both of those channels. It is different from the Behringer.

I'm not sure how to make this clearer at this point. There's only so much an explanation will do for you, you have to actually play with the technology to see it working. Would you like me to make a diagram for you? Would that help?'


P.S. Don't tell me how to use the forums. I don't post here just for you, I post for everyone.

Untitled.png

 

 

Also, WHY are you using an audio interface and then just putting it into your computer's line-in anyway? That doesn't make any sense. That just brings the noise back. There's a USB cable on the back of the Behringer. You hook it up to your computer via USB and have FL Studio read the audio directly from the Behringer box. I think the reason for the confusion is that you're trying to record into this box and then direct monitor the Canvas sound straight towards the Behringer's outputs and then fire that out of the box into another cable into your computer's line in. It's unnecessary.

Eliminate the computer line-in entirely, that's what you need to do.

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New question! Better to ask it here than make a new thread.

My absence here from last was posted was due to a variety of things, but none the less of which was acquiring a Roland Xv-5050 which will hopefully be the last Roland module I'll ever need. Yesterday I spent some time trying to do a basic line-in recording of it, but I'm having yet another quandary that Google has yet to answer for me.

I got some 1/4" adapters for my RCA cable, but I'm finding the Roland's Output A is giving me a lack of balance in terms of stereo when I plug it into my computer's line-in to work in FL Studio 11. Output A is Left/Mono and Right. I thought Left/Mono meant that the signal could be Left stereo OR mono, not Mono and Right and the right side of the recording is significantly louder as a result.

With or without an external audio recording unit, I'm concerned how I'll be able to record balanced stereo if Left doesn't seems to only give me mono while right gives me right stereo. I tried recording in Output B (which is not Left/mono and right) and all that gave me was a super loud and distorted recording. There's an SPDIF out function on it, but I don't have SPDIF recording in and I don't think I can afford to put one in.

One thing I did gather from Google is that a lot of devices have Left/Mono and Right, so there's bound to be some knowledge on how to overcome it without building an entire studio. What should I do to overcome it?

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"Meteo, how many times can you resurrect a dead topic?"

AS MANY TIMES AS IT TAKES.

As I wait to get the XV-5050 repaired and collect the Behringer to test it out, I had a new question. Do they make audio interface devices that also record to .WAV right there in the box and let me take the song out with a USB stick or something? I figure they do, but I haven't come across one yet.

With some of these audio interfaces seeming to have driver issues with Windows, I figured it was worth asking about. Thank you!

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